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Leadership - Introduction

Significant literature surrounds the subject of leadership, not least the numerous biographies and autobiographies of those identified as being ‘good’ leaders. You will also possess your own views on the topic shaped by your personal experiences of leadership within families, social groups, educational institutions and ultimately your working environment.

In this chapter, the key academic concepts and theories will be outlined in an attempt to present the core arguments. However, whilst most agree that leadership is a critical success factor for any business, the way in which it is captured and expressed is challenging. Some consider leadership an inherent personal skill, others a learned art whilst still others view it through the prism of social science! The examination of leadership is further complicated when the importance of context (e.g. the nature of the business, the operating environment, the needs and wants of those being led etc.) is also addressed.

This chapter will provide the essential foundation for the examination of leadership. However, further reflection and critical self-examination will be required in order to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the topic. It is the resulting personal insights which support individual leadership development.

Goals and objectives for this section

  • To be able to define leadership
  • To be able to understand the key/core leadership theories that exist.
  • To appreciate the importance of leadership styles.
  • To understand the difference between leadership and management.
  • To consider leadership in context (e.g. strategic leadership).

Begin the Lecture